Ample raises $ 160 million from Shell and others for battery exchange stations for electric vehicles – pv magazine usa
Also getting started: ROSI recycles at multiple stages of the PV lifecycle, and Comcast Ventures is leading a funding round for a provider of AI-powered home energy upgrades.
In this episode of Startup Sunday, we have three companies making potentially disruptive innovations in solar power, home power, and electric vehicles.
Ample Modular EV Battery Swap station
Ample of San Francisco has raised $ 160 million in Series C funding to recharge its modular, swappable EV battery system. The society emerged stealth operations in March after seven years, and is now seeking to develop commercially viable automated battery exchange stations.
Ample’s backers include Shell, Repsol, Japanese company Eneos, and Thai company PTT.
The goal of an Ample battery swap station is to eliminate the need for recharging, allowing drivers to drive with a nearly depleted battery and leave with a fully charged battery. The exchange can happen in under 10 minutes, Ample said.
Ample is based on a set of small Lego brick shaped batteries that are compatible with many different electric vehicle models. The light and prefabricated design of the station should enable rapid deployment, Ample said. When not actively swapping batteries, the station can act as an energy storage capsule, capturing renewable energy.
The company said its station would provide a full charge 3-10 times cheaper than current fast-charging stations, be cheaper to build and install, and be able to provide power at a cost of 10 to 20% lower than gas.
The company said it takes around 20 uses of vehicles at a station to break even.
Currently, five Ample battery stations are operational in San Francisco. The company said this new round of funding will drive growth in the United States and internationally.
ROSI the Unriveur
As panel production soars, the same will apply for the supply of end-of-life modules, which are often more profitable to send to landfill than to recycle. French company ROSI aims to change this by extracting value from decommissioned solar panels. Think of him as a sort of reverse Rosie the Riviter.
ROSI said its process allows for deep separation of the laminate materials. Its process uses physical, thermal and soft chemistry to collect both the ultra-pure silicon from the cell and the silver fingers that collect the electrical current generated by each cell. Together, these materials represent over 60% of the cost of a panel, said ROSI.
ROSI said its process differs from the type of aggressive chemical reaction process that other PV recyclers are currently using.
ROSI also reuses silicon waste, or “kerf”, into recycled ultrapure silicon. When silicon ingots are cut into wafers, a diamond wire slices through the material, but over 40% of the silicon is lost as microchips which are drained from the liquid used in the cutting process.
These sludges contain pure silicon and are currently considered waste to be disposed of at the manufacturer’s expense. The ROSI process separates the silicon fragments from the sawing liquid and reuses the granules to make more silicon ingots.
The startup founded in 2017 recently announced its intention to build a recycling facility in Grenoble, France. He said he got a contract with Soren, a French trade association, and that the factory is expected to open before the end of 2022.
Home energy platform
Branch Energy based in Houston announcement $ 4.5 million in seed funding for its green energy supply and home energy improvement advisory services. He plans to enroll his first clients in Texas this fall.
This round of funding was led by Comcast Ventures with participation from Global Founders Capital, Inovia Capital and Assaf Wand, CEO of Hippo Unicorn Home Insurance.
Branch was co-founded by Alex Ince-Cushman, ex-Palantir and former nuclear fusion researcher; Daniel MacDonald, a serial B2C entrepreneur; and Todd Burgess, an energy industry veteran. The trio will use the funds to expand the team and support the development of the data and analytics infrastructure that powers the company’s offering.
Branch will first enter deregulated energy markets in the United States, where homeowners can choose their energy suppliers. It will offer renewable energy contracts, acting as a platform for invoicing, payment and customer service, while also offering advice on the installation and financing of smart energy devices.
Branch delves deep into the details for its customers, combining energy consumption data, satellite imagery, hyper-local weather forecasts and AI to calculate the economic benefits a homeowner can expect to reap from every device for owners. The branch also coordinates financing and installation.
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